ST. LOUIS – St. Charles County residents will now have even faster access to nationally recognized acute stroke care as the Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital Stroke Network enhances its ties with Progress West Medical Center and Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital.
A new telemedicine robot housed at Progress West HealthCare Center in O’Fallon, MO, lets Washington University stroke specialists be “remotely present” when a patient with a suspected stroke comes to the Progress West emergency department.
The robot lets stroke specialists located at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, 26 miles east of Progress West, work collaboratively and in real time with the Progress West physicians to diagnose stroke patients, begin treatment with the clot-busting drug tPA, and arrange for transport to Barnes-Jewish, if needed.
“Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States,” says Jude Reed, MD, FACEP, emergency department medical director at Progress West and Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. “When it’s a stroke, delays in treatment can lead to loss of brain function or worse. Progress West is a stroke-ready hospital, and the affiliation with Barnes-Jewish Hospital provides access to one of the nation’s best stroke teams.”
“For acute stroke care, this may mean faster, more accurate onsite treatment of patients presenting to our partner hospitals,” says Peter Panagos, MD, co-director of the stroke-care team. “This can be especially critical at hospitals where transporting the patient to Barnes-Jewish could potentially put the patient outside of the window for treatment with tPA.”
The Progress West robot, manufactured by In Touch Health, connects to Barnes-Jewish via wireless internet. It is the second robot in use by a Washington University/Barnes-Jewish stroke network hospital. Parkland Health Center in Farmington, MO, about 60 miles south of St. Louis, started using a robot in its emergency department in January 2011.
When a suspected stroke patient comes to the Progress West emergency room, the Washington University stroke expert using a laptop computer and joystick at located at Barnes-Jewish is able to maneuver the robot. A two-way audio/video feed allows the doctor and patient to see and hear each other.
This lets the stroke specialist conduct their own neurological exam and interact directly with the patient, family and Progress West medical staff. In addition, the stroke expert receives real-time feeds of vital signs, test results and imaging.
The Progress West robot has been christened “STAN” by the emergency room staff that work with it. The name was suggested by Progress West emergency room nurse Trevor Wolfe, RN. Wolfe suggested the name as an acronym for “System To Assist Neuro-stroke team,” and to honor his father, a three-time stroke survivor.
“The robot is an effective tool in helping us collaborate with the Progress West emergency staff in getting patients diagnosed and appropriate treatment started as quickly as possible,” says Renee Van Stavern, MD, co-director of the Barnes-Jewish stroke care team. “This just enhances our relationship with Progress West and benefits patients in that area.”
Barnes-Jewish Hospital is 1,288 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. The hospital has a 1,763 member medical staff with many recognized as "Best Doctors in America." Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 13 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is also consistently ranked as one of America’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S.News & World Report.